Changes to visa process for applicants travelling to the UK for more than 6 months
From 31 May 2015, Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) for non-EEA nationals travelling to the UK for more than six months will begin to be issued to customers who applied for their visa in Qatar. The change will bring the UK’s processes into line with other European countries, and will affect those applying to settle in the UK, as well as students and workers applying for a longer stay visa.
From this date, applicants will receive a 30 day visa in their passport, and must travel within this period. Applicants will be required to collect their BRP from a post office, that they select during the application stage, within ten days of arrival in the UK. The residence card can then be used as proof of right to work, study and access public services in the UK. The card will also need to be presented when travelling in and out of the UK, along with a valid travel document, such as a passport. Applicants will receive a letter, if their application is successful, which provides detailed information about collecting their BRP.
BRPs will be introduced globally throughout 2015 to bring the UK into line with European Commission (EC) regulations, which require Member States, when granting leave for more than six months, to issue a standard format residence permit document. Qatar is one of 31 countries in the third phase of the UK rollout. You can see the full rollout schedule here
Will this affect me?
The change will only affect non-EEA nationals travelling to the UK for more than six months, such as those applying for a points-based system, or settlement visa. If you are applying to go on holiday or on a short business or study trip, using a visit visa, you will not need a BRP. If you are applying for, or already have a long-term visit visa, valid for 1,2,5 or 10 years, you will not be affected by the change and can continue to use your visa as normal. Full guidance is available here
How do I apply for a visa from 31 May?
The application process is largely the same. If you want to go to the UK for more than six months, you will be asked for additional information when you complete your online visa application, which will include the postcode of your new address in the UK. Make sure you enter your postcode accurately as the collection point for your BRP will be selected based on this information. The main difference is that when you arrive in the UK, you will need to go to a post office to collect your residence permit.
Will there be an additional cost?
No, there is no additional fee and the visa application fee remains the same.
I’m not sure what date I will travel to the UK, what should I do?
Make sure you know the date you will travel to the UK before you apply. Your temporary visa will only be valid for 30 days once you receive it and you will need to travel within this period. If you receive your temporary visa sticker, and can’t travel during the 30 day window, you will need to apply for a replacement.
What can I use the BRP for?
The purpose of the BRP is to provide evidence your immigration status. You will not need to carry it at all times, but you will need to show it to demonstrate your entitlement to work or to access public services.
What happens if I decide to change my travel date after I receive my 30 day passport sticker?
If the short term visa has expired or will expire before you travel then you will need to apply for a replacement (please note that you do not have to start the visa application process again). The letter you receive with your visa decision will explain how to replace your temporary visa.
How will I know where to collect my BRP?
When you apply for your visa you will be asked for the first part of the postcode of your new address. Make sure you enter your postcode accurately as the collection point for your BRP will be selected based on this information. You will be given the details of the post office when you receive your decision letter.
Why is this change being introduced?
The change is to meet EC Regulations, which require Member States, when granting leave for more than six months, to issue a standard format residence permit document.